Thursday, January 26, 2012

We are buggin' out!

Evy had her 2nd Bday bash (African time for sure since the girl turned 2 over a month ago) and it was based on her favorite and most often used word: Dudu (bug)! I bought some plastic cockroaches and other bugs in South Africa to use for decorations and games even though Jason nominated that purchase as the most ridiculous item ever bought by me considering we have about 3 huge dead cockroaches on our floor every morning. But (as I justified) you cannot use those to decorate a cake! See....

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I am fairly certain I have many pink princess parties in my future so I enjoyed a bug theme this time around! I go with my kids passion and Evy has a passion for things wadudu! We invited some ex-pat friends and had a small gathering to celebrate our little Evy Imani and can I just say how fabulous it was to have Bibi here to celebrate (and help)? Woo hoo!!
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The kids made "spoon bugs" with homemade baker's clay, Q-tips, and paint and got butterfly tattoos on arrival and after paint was everywhere and colorful and glittery bugs were drying we had a bug hunt outside. Did I mention Evy LOVED painting?
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We hid plastic bugs outside and told them they had to help since we had an invasion of wadudu at our house (somewhat true also)and each child had to find one to get their zawadi. Kids that live in Africa are used to some big and nasty bugs so some were a bit leery about picking them up! Although they knew it was the only way to get their treat bags so they were quickly convinced to find the wadudu.
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and guess who invited himself to the party....AGAIN
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A party is not a real party without a dance party......
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Who wants a peice with a bug on it? ""
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and singing and a cockroach cake.... should I be concerned Evy was not that worried about them being on her cake?
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Thanks everyone for celebrating Evy's precious life with us!
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And of course after the Wazungu weird theme party we had a mini-cake eating and singing sherehe with Skuli ya Imani students.....
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how many cakes is that in one day? lost count....
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Lots of friends and too many sweets! We are blessed!
Happy belated birthday to our sweet, feisty Evy Imani......I am blessed to be your Mama and May God protect you and grow you to be the woman He wants you to be!

Monday, January 23, 2012

guess who made it?

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Bibi!!! J's Mom landed island-side this morning! She is here! (insert insane jumping up and down fits of joy). We are a bit excited Y'all! Anni woke up before 6am because she was so pumped. Bibi already survived a trip to the market, lots of neighbor kids trying out their "wazungu" greetings, and some local food. She made the LONG trip all by herself which shows she is one tough Mama! Not to mention the cost involved and time taken to bless us with a visit to see more of this amazing place we call home.
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She also came bearing gifts of corn tortillas, ranch dressing, Fruity Pebbles, new books for the girls, and gummy vitamins which further endeared her to us. Yeah for family here on our island.......more on our adventures soon but first Bibi needs to get some rest (if the girls will allow it that is).
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Karibu Bibi!!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

the kuku story...a clear highlight of Evy's day

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This morning as we were going about a quiet Sunday morning at home this little guy invited himself in our house as he and his comrades have done many times due to a broken screen on our kitchen door. Usually we can shoo-sh them away fairly quickly but this dude made it all the way to the bedrooms and did not want to vacate the premise. Jason and Evy had quite an adventure in convincing the kuku to get up outta here. This event was clearly the highlight of Miss Evy Imani's day as exemplified by her animated retelling of the events over and over. I finally had to record her. And for the record Annikah's response to the chicken getting in and being subsequently chased away was "not again! argh!" A little less enthusiastic for sure. I guess we cannot blame the little kuku since his Mama that we affectionately named KFC was eaten for lunch last week by the family that lives with us. Still, dude has gotta face his fate and live outside. Pole!
And here is Evy's dramatic retelling assisted by Mama since my girl still only has a few words:

Girl is hilarious, no?!


It is snowing!!!

We have heard that our friends and family in Chicago and Iowa have had some big snow news this past week. Well, us islanders could not be left out! A friend here gave me some of this weird stuff. It is a powder and when you add water it grows and becomes snow! Seriously, looks pretty real. And without the freezing cold or digging out cars from city streets I'd say far superior. We have been learning about weather in Skuli ya Imani and I could not resist showing some island kids what snow is like. They loved it too! I was careful to explain I did not use any witch doctor skills to make it because we learned our lesson with talking Elmo a few years ago. If something is a bit weird people may assume so better to clarify the no witch doctor mojo was used pre-weird stuff. Once everyone understood it was some crazy Wazungu technology we were all good to play in the snow. So here is a few pictures of it snowing on our island....

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take cover!
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my snow baby....
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now back to our regularly scheduled steamy as always heat wave.......


Saturday, January 21, 2012

sare & kid good stuff

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Matching dresses are big here. Adults and children alike love getting clothes made that match. Sare! Anni's best friend Lusi's Mama made the girls all these dresses for New Years and we decided they needed a day out to show them off so when Jason was on ALL day field trip with a friends school we hit the playground in town. We heard that it was new and improved and the rumors were true! New rides and more food. Needless to say the 6 kids that loaded in our car and joined us were more then pumped.
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new merry-go-round...Evy approves!
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and a new train too!
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little snacking
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and sharing
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everyone was shocked at Miss Evy's fearless antics because "haogopi kitu" she is not afraid of anything. Yep, that is my big crazy girl!
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Kid good stuff folks.


Friday, January 20, 2012

remembering all He has done

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Yesterday afternoon there were 12 kids at our home swinging, jumping rope, running, dressing up, and riding bikes around. Anni was leading the pack in a search for rocks and sticks for a "cooking" enterprise in the works. It was what can only be described as chaos. I sat watching and listening to the laughing, the singing, the arguing, the noises of friends playing. And I thanked God.
I was distinctly reminded of when we first came over over 3 and a half years ago. Annikah was only 1 and most attempts to play with our neighbors resulted in tears. For her and me. We could not communicate and Anni probably felt as hopeless as I did many days that we could ever feel any sense of being at home here. I spent many days crying and trying to convince myself moving here was not the worst thing I could have done for my kids. I was fighting the nagging feeling that they would forever be different, teased, or not be able to really fit in and just be kids. Yesterday I was reminded of just what He has done for our girls and our family in the last few years. Of course we are still different but our difference is now accepted and loved. And we have been changed forever by the friendships we have made here. My girls have friends. Real friends that they run and play and fight and pretend and have adventures with. And what they have learned by living here and loving here has been so much greater than any hardship we have faced. The richness of our experiences here escapes description. And remembering all He has done is giving Him thanks that even when I lack trust He is good.

As a special treat I gave the hungry little posse of watoto each a well worn coin that they held tight in their dirty little hands and they all made a mad dash for our neighbor's home. One of the older kids from Shule tied Evy to her back and held Anni's hand as they wondered to the neighbor's house to buy some kachori (fried potato balls). They made their way back about 10 minutes later and my girls were smiling from ear to greasy, dirty ear. We said goodbye to our friends for the night and after shooing them away we headed inside.
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Today I am remembering all He has done and I am so thankful there is a place for our family here.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

there is always light

I took this picture a few months ago at a wedding and after looking through all the photos I could not stop going back to this one. The light is just beautiful and unexpected. Ladies party, wedding 172.jpgedit

And it reminds me that even when all you see is darkness there is always light. I can focus on the darkness sometimes: the seemingly unanswered prayer, the what-ifs, the overwhelming needs, the choke hold of division, and the vice grip of fear. But that leaves out the victory. It is not the full story. There is more. Abundance. Life. Light. Always.
I like how the Message puts it:
The Life-Light blazed out of the darkness;
the darkness couldn't put it out.
The true source of light. He is always there. We have seen some amazing answers to prayer this week. Even with our mustard seed size faith. And I am humbled that He uses us and sees fit that we get to experience miracles meant only for His glory. Friends healed and loved. Amazing. And bright, shining, glorious light even in dark places.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

celebrity sighting

A quick trip to the market with girlfriends to buy some fabric turned out to be the talk of our neighborhood. And in a place where there is a lot of sameness this was pretty exciting!! We spotted Bi. Kidude!!

Ok, so you may be thinking..."ummm who is that?" Arguably one of the most well known people ever to be from our island. She is a famous Taarab singer here. She is also well known by locals for her complete disregard for spheres of life deemed to be "male" like smoking, drinking, and pretty much talking opening about anything she wants! She has created quite a bit of controversy on our island in her time but I think people sorta leave her alone what with being over 100! Seriously a miracle since she smokes like 3 packs a day! Legend has it she once traveled to Europe and refused to wear shoes as she took in the sights of various cities and performed.
I had a short conversation with her in which she grabbed my face and said she was so happy I spoke Kiswahili and that I was welcome here. And of course I had to get one quick pic to up my street cred' in the neighborhood....
You can read a bit about her here and here and there are some amazing scenes of her in this documentary about our island (plus the documentary is awesome!)
So, yeah, Woo-hoo! Celebrity sighting!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Happy Friday!

Yesterday was Siku ya Mapinduzi- Revolution Day- the biggest non-religious holiday here. No work and celebrations complete with "fireworks" (we will call them fireworks) started at 12 am and I joined the neighbors screaming and celebrating in the street. In the morning we headed to the beach for some family fun. Check out who was in front of us at the gas station....

just getting a little air in the tires...
After a quick stop off at the refuge for red colobus monkeys to negotiate a fair price for an upcoming field trip with Skuli ya Imani kids we swam, ate, chilled, hunted for shells, and relaxed. We headed back when it started to rain and then spent the afternoon visiting with neighbors and hanging out. Good day.
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How cute are these watoto? Happy Friday y'all!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

the old nail through the shoe trick

I started the day at 5:30am with a hospital visit for my friend and ended the day with one for me.

Before Skuli ya Imani started today I was setting up and playing with some kids and I stepped on a dirty nail went clear through my shoe (ok, I was wearing flip flops like I do every single day of my life here) but still geez! My girlfriends present told me to rub some perfume on the wound but I opted for cleaning it, gooping on some antibiotic ointment, and gauze and getting back to teaching. After Skuli J and I searched Web MD sites (which can I just say you should NEVER do!! Seriously, I think I might right now... from every minor symptom I have ever had) and realized I probably did need another tetanus shot since my last one was about tens years ago. After a couple calls we decided my best bet was a hospital about five minutes away and off I went. I saw the doctor quickly who never looked at the wound and then proceeded to ask ME how often you need a tetanus which did not do much to increase my confidence in the medical services here. I just asked for him to write the prescription which he quickly did and then I limped over to the pharmacy to buy my vaccine and needle. The workers were engaged in lively discussion and one was having a chai break so I waited a bit but after paying about 4 bucks they handed me this and directed me back to the hospital to have a nurse give me the injection:
I got the shot, prayed for a sick little boy and his mama who I was waiting with, and was on my happy albeit hobbling way within 20 minutes and it only cost about 5 bucks!
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Best emergency room trip yet....always keeping it interesting y'all!

family fab night....don't worry!

So it has been a while since our last family fabulous-ness night but we were on vaca... what do you want from me? :) We are settling back into the crazy flow around here and since the girls loved the last fab night and we had big plans for more. Miss Anni had an idea for a "flower" themed Fab Fam night a couple months back and we promised that after we returned island-side we would begin the prep. At family meeting this past week there were some tears by one or more members about the impending transitions for our family and we read and discussed the passage where Jesus tells us not to worry. We are more precious then the birds of the air and the flowers of the field! Thus, we had our theme! Very little prep went into this one but it was a great night of eating, crafts, singing, and games. Here are some pics and details in case anyone feels inspired to steal & improve...I am a firm believer in Mama- sharing (plus, full disclosure I swipe most of my good ideas and tailor them for us)!!!

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making "pink petal" cupcakes....
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and veggies cut into flowers...we are serious about our theme people.
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We played a "relay" race where we had to fill bags with various objects from a big basket. Anni and Evy carried their "burden bags" full of things that represent things we worry about (a dress for clothes, a cucumber and corn flakes for food, bottles of water for drinks, construction paper house for where we live, paper money for finances and provision, pencils and notebooks for school, a clock for our time, etc). Those bags got heavy!!
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Mama explaining that we can give our worries to Jesus because He tells us to seek first and alll these things will be given as well and that our Father knows what we need so we do not need to worry! Then we may or may not have danced and screamed "don't worry because God cares for you" (And note I follow the "bloggers must post unflattering pics as well as cute ones of themselves"...see unwashed hair, no make-up, and sweat glistening :)
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we made tissue paper flowers (I totally remembered these from back-in-the-day but had to look up instructions online and after spraying them with perfume hid them around the house for a flower hunt. Anni was the clear winner but both girls got candy and snuggle time with Papa for their efforts!
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our family craft- we each have a fingerprint flowers and made birds to remind us that God cares even more for us! (Jason pointed out that my bird cut-outs looked more like fighter planes or sharks but whatever...I try!)
Don't worry. God knows & He cares for us so much. Good reminder for us all and lots of family good times.